The other day, I told the story of a blogger whose views on Christ were a bit different than mine. Not a big deal in and of itself. One of the posts I read was how she felt that the phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin" was unbiblical and wrong. Amidst several other comments on this controversial idea, I had added Matt. 5:43-48-
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Because while she did have a rationale for her position, in a rambling sort of way that included posting several chapters at the end of Job involving God's response to Job, I felt she was conveniently forgetting the weight Jesus lent to this concept.
It got deleted.
I think this person sees herself as a crusader, but Jesus didn't send crusaders, Pope Urban II did. In fact, the person who pointed her out in the first place to me had commented on the post, trying to defend another commenter who disagreed with her. For his trouble, he got a scathing response littered with accusations and "people like you"s- and quite frankly, if I'd have gotten such a response, my reply would have ended with, "...and the horse you rode in on". So I went over there, with the intention of just deleting her from the reading list.
Anyway, she followed this up with a post in the same vein regarding not praying for the fallen based on Matt. 10:14-
14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
What she failed to consider in her post was that THAT was to be a last resort, after doing everything in one's power to bring people TO repentance. I think she has a lot more Jonah in her than I do. In fact, I think Luke 9:54-55 describes her perfectly.
54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”[a]
55 But He turned and rebuked them,[b] and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”[c] And they went to another village. I think, though, while her nature is pretty clear, Jesus' nature is not very clear to her. And, not surprisingly, that is how my readings went this week- a look at the nature of Jesus.
Monday, Isaiah 49. Particularly, verse 6:
Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
Jesus is not some limited, parochial deity- He is the light even to those who HAD NOT SOUGHT HIM. Everyone gets a shot. Before we decide on who "will not hear", one better examine the message with which they try to reach them.
Tuesday, Matthew 27, the trial of Jesus. "Are you the King of the Jews?" asked Pilate, and Jesus answered, "It is as you say." And this wasn't a king of wrath- this was a king that loved His people enough to die for them soon later. As Paul said, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF, EVEN TO THE POINT OF DEATH, death on a cross.
Wednesday, Luke 8. Herein he heals an arch-demoniac, a woman who bled for 12 years, and a little girl who had died. Not only giving healing to one who had faith (the woman), but to one whose family laughed at Him (Jairus' family), and another who accused Him of tormenting him (Legion)! JESUS WAS ALL ABOUT HEALING.
Thursday, I Corinthians 3. Paul explains here that, whatever we do, Jesus must be THE FOUNDATION of what we hope to accomplish.
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
One of my commenters on my earlier post noted that this blogger I mentioned was engaged in "picking and choosing" what she chose to believe rather than seeing the wider context. And that wider context is that we are to emulate Jesus, and Jesus came with mercy, humility, and healing, not a sword and condemnation. Yes, He condemned the Pharisees and others; but they HAD the Word, and KNEW, or should have, what God wanted from them. How many times did they bring to Jesus sinners they themselves had condemned, only to watch Jesus forgive them? If you are going to preach against mercy for sinners, you'd better be darn sure you've given them every chance to repent.
Friday, Acts 22, Paul's defense before the Jerusalem crowd. Here, he tells for the first time, his version of his conversion. Here, Jesus is THE ONE WHO CALLS US. Is there any question that Paul was an enemy of God and Christ on a scale that this blogger would have "shook the dust from her sandals" on? Jesus made him the greatest Apostle of all. Who would you give up on?
And Saturday, the beginning of Job. Satan is told to "Consider My servant Job," which he does with contempt. "Of course, he's loyal to you, you've hedged him around! Take away Your protection and see what he does!" So Satan saw Job's faith as based on the protection. But at the end of the day, Job proved that the protection was based on his faith as well as God's mercy. IF WE ARE FAITHFUL, HE IS OUR PROTECTOR.
So who is Jesus?
-He is the one who brings us light before we even know we need it;
-He is the one who goes to the limit for us;
-He is our healer;
-He is our sure foundation;
-He calls us to new life, never giving up;
-He is our protector when we rely on Him.
How much of that is possible for someone busy looking for reasons to exclude us from mercy?
I think I'll try posting a link on the blogger's site to this. Maybe I'll get through, or just get a scathing response.
More likely, I'll get deleted.